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Opinion: Bill Walton, Cherry Picking

I suppose we all cherry pick at one time or another
20220126 truck walton

Back in the days before they changed the red line/offside rules in hockey, many teams had a “cherry-picker,” a player who was not as keen on defensive play as acquiring scoring points.

These players would loaf outside their own blue line, waiting for a stray puck or a clearing pass, and then rush down the ice alone to score a goal. This practice may have benefited the defending team because it drew the offense’s men from the attack. Nonetheless, ‘cherry pickers’ were not generally held in high esteem, even by their own team. One needed to be a team player.

What brought this to mind was the convoy of anti-vax truckers and their rolling protest headed for Ottawa. And then, by association, to the antivax crowd.

I am all for freedom of expression and freedom of choice until it impinges on society in matters of health and well-being. But I am becoming less tolerant of those people who are cherry-picking what they like from our society and disregarding what the rest of us consider the needed rules, regulations, and science on which our society is based.

They are not team players.

It seems very convenient to cherry-pick from the sciences and practices that have brought us to the present state of society and the common good. Most of us are reasonably happy to have chlorinated water, although the taste is sometimes ugly; pasteurized milk improved the safety of that drink, although some still prefer to drink straight from the (healthy) cow’s teats. The science of sterilization seems acceptable for our eating utensils although some still prefer to use their unwashed fingers.

There were not too many parents who objected to polio, measles, and smallpox vaccinations, deferring to the scientists who developed the injections, and not questioning the lab work, tests, efficacy, and studied scientific methods of manufacturing the vaccines. Admittedly there were some mistakes along the way; some poor science; some abuses of science for financial gain, but on the whole, the life expectancy, and our general well-being, because of science, has risen for the developed world.

The cherry pickers who like to choose what suits them from the cornucopia of society’s rules, bylaws, etc. are the ones who obey some rules and ignore or flaunt others.

They say it is freedom of choice. They might be the drivers (truckers included) who think the double yellow lines between the Tri Towns and North Bay do not apply to them. School bus flashing lights are not mandatory stops. A couple of non-slot size pickerel are okay. Tossing an empty plastic bottle – who cares? Wearing a mask in a pandemic – what nonsense – it says so right on the web.

Don’t worry about your cherry-picking of the laws and rules: some paramedic will pull you from the wreck near Temagami; the little kid will dodge your car as she exits the yellow bus; a community service club will pick up your roadside trash; God will make more fish, and the doctors and nurses will look after you if you do catch some illness that they will report as Covid so they can get more funding.

If you happen to run into – literally – a drunk driver who cherry-picked the laws about drinking and driving, you can forgive him or her because you too don’t like some of the silly laws that society has created. Why should truck drivers need to be vaccinated just because they are hauling food which we may ingest that was inspected by an employee who did not believe in washing his hands or a farmer in California who did not believe the science regarding e-coli?  

I suppose we all cherry pick at one time or another. Maybe our education system, our social safety nets, our political will, simply cannot keep pace with the sciences. Lord help us all if the 9.82 billion doses of Covid vaccines are as wrong as the anti-vaxxers claim.

In the meantime, how about you truckers get the jab and get back on the job. Or have you not heard, or care about, the supply chain issue?

Bill Walton

About the Author: Bill Walton

retired from City of North Bay in 2000writer, poet, columnist
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